In a surprising move, the BBC announced that it’s producing its own voice assistant, whose name is “Beeb”.
According to The Guardian, the UK public broadcaster wants to integrate the Beeb smart assistant with its website and the iPlayer apps available on most smart TVs.
That means that, at least for now, the BBC won’t also launch its own smart speaker but rely on other devices to carry its voice.
The move comes after the BBC removed its podcasts from the Google Podcast App and Google Assistant, saying that the broadcaster needs access to “meaningful audience data” to continue providing quality content.
“We also want to make our programmes and services as good as they can possibly be – this means us getting hold of meaningful audience data. This helps us do a number of things; make more types of programmes we know people like, make our services even more personalised and relevant to people using them, and equally importantly, identify gaps in our commissioning to ensure we’re making something for all audiences.
Unfortunately, given the way the Google podcast service operates, we can’t do any of the above,” was the reason provided.
In another move, the BB pulled their live radio streams from TuneIn, citing similar concerns and saying that they couldn’t “reach a data sharing agreement” with TuneIn.
As for the functionality, because the Beeb is developed by a much smaller team, don’t expect it to perform to Google Assistant or Alexa’s level, but it will allow you to interact with the BBC content catalogue.
Hopefully, you won’t accidentally summon The Bieb if you yell at the TV three times to get some help.
“The name Beeb was chosen as a working title after comparing several potential wake words for the software. Although it is likely to be voiced by a single individual, no decision has been made on who this will be,” reports The Guardian.
Once it’s closer to launch, there’s a possibility that the new voice assistant will get baptized with a new name.